The next time you start to feel a little under the weather, see if you're guilty of any of the common things you shouldn't do when you're sick. While most of them are obvious, plenty of us have done several things on this list on more than one occasion. Doing any of these things you shouldn't do when you're sick could just make the problem worse. Keep these in mind the next time you get the sniffles and you just might get better faster.
1. Take Too Much Medicine
Obviously, you want to feel better, so you take cold and flu meds to deal with your symptoms. One of the biggest things you shouldn't do when you're sick is take too much medicine. Combining multiple meds with the same ingredients is actually dangerous. You should also make sure you follow the instructions on the medication to avoid taking it too often. Remember, these aren't miracle cures and the last thing you want is to make yourself worse.
2. Boost Energy with Caffeine
While it'd be great to always be able to stay at home when we're sick, sometimes there are things we have to do. The problem is many of us tend to try to boost our low energy levels with caffeine or sugar. Downing coffee, soft drinks and energy drinks only makes your symptoms worse. The caffeine and sugar actually dehydrate you and prevent you from getting the rest you need to heal.
3. Use Dirty Nasal Spray
The last thing you might think about when you're sick is cleaning the nozzle on your nose spray. However, if you don't clean the nozzle after each use, you could be putting bacteria back in your nose. The bacteria could result in a backset. Make sure you clean the nozzle with rubbing alcohol after each use.
4. Use Old or Leftover Prescription Medications
The antibiotics and prescription cold meds you have leftover from last year probably aren't going to be very effective now. Not only will you not have enough to last, but the medications actually weaken over time. Do yourself a favor and throw out what you don't use. If OTC meds aren't enough for you, schedule a quick visit to your doctor for some fresh prescriptions the next time the flu or cold starts in.
5. Blow Your Nose Too Hard
I'm guilty of this one and odds are, many of you are too. Frankly, I want the snot out as quickly as possible, but blowing too hard can actually cause sinus infections which will last far longer than the cold itself. While you should still blow, try to take it a little easy and wait as long as possible between blowing. If you feel pressure in your head or you have to squeeze your nose while blowing, you're probably doing it too hard.
6. Touch Everything
While it's hard to remember that sick time means hands-off time, you should drastically limit what you touch while you're sick. You don't want to spread the germs everywhere. When you have to touch public objects such as door handles, use hand sanitizer first. Clean hands will keep everyone else a little safer. After all, who will take care of you if you get everyone else sick?
7. Go out like Normal
If possible, try not to leave home when you're sick. Limit your out of the house time to a quick trip to the store at the beginning of your illness for medicine and cold friendly foods. If you can't stay in, limit trips to the essentials such as work. The more you go out, the more you spread the cold. Plus, since your immune system is busy fighting what you have, it's in a weakened state. Being around others who are sick could cause you to catch something new.
8. Touch Your Face
Your entire body may ache, but the real spread of germs comes from your face. When you cough or sneeze, germs go everywhere. Unless you're sanitizing your face after each incident, the germs are still there. Try to prevent spreading them any more than you have to by keeping your hands away from your face. Avoid scratching your nose or chewing your nails. It's a hard habit to break, but well worth it.
The general rule of thumb is to avoid exercise if your symptoms are below the neck, such as congestion. However, vigorous exercise should be avoided completely when you're sick. Gentle exercises such as walking or simple yoga are best. Otherwise, you'll push your body too hard and prolong your cold. Basically, if you don't feel up to exercising, avoid it until you're better.
Being sick means changing some of your habits. If you avoid at least most of this list, you'll not only help yourself feel better faster, but limit how many people you share your illness with. What are some other things you think people shouldn't do when they're sick?